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Vote planned today on 1,000 library cards

REGULAR READERS: From left, Cameron Wininger, Travis Wininger and Tom McIntosh sift through the daily news on Thursday morning at the Peru Public Library. The top level of the library is an adults-only quiet space, and offers books, news publications, computers and a lot of natural light.

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

The Peru Public Library Board of Trustees will decide today whether to accept an offer from Miami County to provide $75,000 worth of library cards to county residents for one year – enough for 1,000 people.

Library Board President Anna Jo Craig said she hopes to sign the deal. “We’re anxious to get service to as many people as we can,” Craig said.

Currently, all Peru library services are available to everyone – with the exception of checking out books, which requires a library card.

Peru residents receive free library cards. Up until 2015, so did county residents.

Since then, library cards cost county citizens $75.

Earlier this week, the Miami County Board of Commissioners approved $75,000 for the cards during their regular bimonthly meeting.

If the library board accepts the agreement today, then the Miami County Council will vote on it during their regular meeting on March 13.

Details about collecting cards will be released after the council votes. If approved, cards will become available “as soon as logistically possible,” for one year from the point of issue.

The library now primarily serves senior citizens and young children, Craig said.

Similar to Peru’s population trend, much of the readership is getting older. One group of men come in to read the different newspapers – the Wall Street Journal is expensive – each morning with a cup of coffee. One senior citizen brings a bag and checks out 10 books, then comes back in a week to check out 10 more, according to Craig.   

But there are certainly a lot of young children – “the children’s program is huge,” Craig said.

Every week, the library hosts activities like Story Time, Lego League and Movers and Shakers for the youngsters on the colorful main level – which often has the children’s sundry projects on display from week to week.

Carla Murtha has worked in the Peru Public Library for 42 years, mainly with the children. “We have a lot to offer here,” Murtha said. “I hope more people come.”

Other services offered include services include adult programs like adult coloring and Master Gardener meetings, newspapers, browsing books, genealogy research on relatives – a popular activity at the library – yearbooks and computer access.  “It’s a wonderful community asset,” Craig said.

Craig is encouraged that there will be a positive outcome during today’s vote.

“We want the library as acceptable as possible to everyone,” Craig said.